My Dream Studio by the Sea
My Dream Studio. The pen and wash sketch “Studio by the Sea” has a very special meaning to me. It is my dream to have an art studio, somewhere that is my own creative space. In my dreams, the studio would be by the sea, one of those little stone buildings, painted white outside. When you walk inside, the room would be filled with light from the large windows at the back and have amazing views overlooking the rocky, sandy bay and the sea. Couldn’t you just sit for hours looking at a view like that? Whether it was sunny or stormy, you would never fail to be inspired. The studio would have a big comfy leather sofa in it, a bit old and a bit scruffy. A kettle and bits and bobs so I can eat and drink there, and lots of books, paintings and pictures to inspire me. The radio would sometimes be on, at other times I would just listen to the sea and the seagulls. It would probably have a plant or two dotted around and maybe a studio cat? It would be cosy and comfortable and people would be welcome to drop by for tea and cake and to talk about art, life and the weather.
One day, I sat down with my sketchbook and started to draw. I thought it would be motivating to have a painting of the imaginary view, from my imaginary studio, so when things were a bit tough, I could look at it and remember why I was working so hard. I did it really quickly, just sketching out the rough structure, putting in a jar with some brushes, paper and paints on the side, an easel and canvas standing in the right of the picture. I painted in my sea view. The view that I would stare out at through storms and sunshine. It made me happy to visualise it properly. It felt a bit like a secret and a bit like magic. Could I conjure up a real studio with my little sketch?
It was only ever meant for my eyes.
A year later I was asked to attend an event to celebrate the switching on of the Christmas lights in a local town. I had a small table set up and I took along some prints and my easel to display them on. I took my sketchbook and wrote a message on a blank page. I can’t quite remember what it was now but something about feeling free to browse and ask questions. I propped it up against the easel, I thought it looked a bit arty and added a bit of character to the table along with a few paint brushes and other props. Towards the end of the evening a lady picked it up and started to look through it. It sent me into a bit of a panic. I hadn’t been expecting anyone to do that and my mind was quickly racing through all the abandoned sketches and scribbly drawings that I thought might be in it. The lady soon stopped at my studio sketch. She loved it. She said I should have it made into a print, or add it to my range of greetings cards that I was also selling there. I was shocked. I couldn’t believe anyone would even consider this as a finished painting, let alone buy it. I took her advice and added it to my range of cards and prints.
A couple of years after that night, I was gathering some cards together to take to a gallery. I was going to show the owner with a view to her stocking them. I had an appointment and I was so nervous. I had never shown my work to anyone who was in the art trade before and although I knew my work sold well from the many sales I had made of my greetings cards, I was still daunted by the prospect of showing somebody who runs an art gallery. I made my choices and took along a couple of paintings and prints too, just for good measure. My hands were shaking as I stood, while my work was being looked at. The lady (Freda) looked through my cards once, then looked at them again, sorted them into piles and then scooped them up and put them back into one pile again. She didn’t speak for what felt like ages but was probably only a minute. She had a look at the paintings and prints I had bought along and pondered a while longer. Finally, she started to speak. She said she had a small space left in her Spring Exhibition in seven months time. She told me how many paintings I would need to produce to fill it. She held up my print of the studio and asked if the original would be amongst them. I explained that it was in my sketchbook so I wouldn’t be able to bring it. She was disappointed, it was the one she liked the best. I couldn’t believe it. All the hours I spent painting, perfecting my technique and everybody loved this loosely drawn sketch. I think during the silence, Freda had been deciding whether to take a chance. At that early stage, my work was of differing style and subject. It was a bit of a pick and mix and I am sure she didn’t really know what I would be able to produce for her exhibition. But she saw something in that sketch of the studio and on the back of it, she gave me my first exhibition.
I ended up painting three times the number of paintings she had asked for, so she could choose the best from them, but she took them all and on the day of the launch, I arrived to find I had the biggest and most prominent space. My studio sketch now hangs in Freda’s home. I gave it to her as a thank you for giving me such an opportunity. I later found out that it was the energy in the sketch that she liked. How freely it had been drawn. I remind myself of this even now, when I get too hung up on getting things perfect in my paintings.
The launch day was so exciting. The gallery was packed. I chatted away to customers and loved every second, all nerves gone the minute I started talking. And I sold several paintings. I was thrilled, not just because I sold something but because I felt happy I hadn’t let Freda down.
So, you can see why this loose sketch of my dream studio, means so much to me. It has brought me luck and opportunity and this is why I have chosen it as the header image for my website and for my different social media pages. So I can be reminded all the time of my dream but also, just in case it really does have magical powers to bring about a real life studio by the sea.
Thank you for reading this and I really hope you enjoyed it. Please feel free to comment or send me a message.